Getting Schooled with We are the Parsons
When I was still dancing, the legendary Judith Jameson once said to my dance class, "The minute you think you don't need to take classes anymore, stop dancing because no one is that good". I'm a true believer of this statement and try to honor that sentiment with my photography. I find the trick to keeping current with your education is finding the right class for where you are at that moment. Photographers are always trying to strive for better technique and skill. Sometimes we need to figure out how to see something differently. Maybe we need to brush up on business or marketing. The possibilities are endless in terms of getting schooled. Every once in a while I stumble across a photographer that blows my mind. They stop me in my tracks and when I look at their work I think, "Shit - I want to spend a day with them" That happened to me last year when I came across the amazing Ashley and Jeremy Parsons. They are the husband and wife photography duo, We are the Parsons. As I was fiddling around on their site I discovered that they do a 4 day retreat for photographers called "Don't Give Up".
I really wanted to do this workshop but there were a few obstacles in the way - one was money, and two was time. I had missed their workshop for 2013. And they hadn't listed any workshops for 2014 yet. But I felt that this workshop would help me grow as a photographer! There had to be a way. I wrote them explaining how I felt about their work and how I was dying to learn more about what they do and how they do it. I wanted be inspired by them. They wrote me back and told me they would love to have me for their next workshop, and they would contact me when it was scheduled.
About five months later I get a newsletter from them letting me know that they would be traveling around the United States offering semiprivate and private workshops and they were coming to Boston. I signed right up. And then I talked my buddy Meg Belanger into coming with me because I was a little nervous to go by myself.
So on an overcast day in the late summer of 2013, I met up with Ashley and Jeremy along with 4 other women (including Meg) to study under the Parsons. The workshop was about 8 hours with plenty of individual time with the couple. I learned about the techniques they use when approaching a subject for the first time. We discussed their philosophy about photography, and why they do what they do. I think that this class was tailored for each individual person attending, so I found that my experience may have been totally different than someone else. I discovered that I share a lot of the same philosophies as they do when it comes to really getting to know the couple/subject. They answered any and every question I had. The best part was watching them work. They photographed each of us and I feel that it was the best way to learn what they do and how they do it. So basically I was able to have my portraits taken by Ashley and Jeremy, which was worth all the money in the world. I've included the photos that Ashley took of me below. While she was photographing me, we talked about motherhood, finding our riot girl, how parenting kids with special needs really sucks sometimes, and I think we talked about being small too. She is my size. We even have the same size hands and feet. But she comes across as about 6 feet tall! I swear.
Ashley and Jeremy are master storytellers when it comes to photography. And now when I photograph a wedding, every so often if I am questioning my motive, I can hear Ashley in my ear, whispering to me about why I need to give integrity to the story, to the couple and to my vision. She and Jer are beyond amazing. Hands down I feel that working with them was a great investment and I heard everything I needed to hear at that time in my life. If you are interested in doing the actual Don't Give a Workshop in Colorado, you are in luck. They just announced their next one for 2014. Run don't walk.
These rest of these images are taken by me during the workshop and just hanging out. It was an amazing day!